It’s not always easy pinning down exactly what makes an automobile unreliable, because between harsh environments, poor driving habits, and the occasional lemon or two, a lot can go wrong without there ever being a recall on the automaker’s end. Every year we look forward to hearing what Consumer Reports has found to be the least reliable cars on the market, because for as high-tech and well-made as automobiles are these days, there are more things that can go wrong with them than ever before.
By obtaining reliability data from an annual questionnaire that it sends out to subscribers on ConsumerReports.org and via Consumer Reports magazine, the buyer watchdog was able to garner responses regarding over half a million vehicles from the Consumer Reports National Research Center in the spring of 2016. The questionnaire asked subscribers to note any problems that had occurred within the past 12 months of ownership, and then requested the identification of any issues that may be considered serious due to cost, failure severity, safety concerns, or downtime.
They then asked subscribers to include problems that were covered by warranties, excluding anything resulting from accident damage or issues stemming from recalls. This gave respondents the ability to check off problems from a list of troublesome areas, as everything from the engine and transmission, to the car’s climate controls, brakes, electrical system, and power accessories were placed under scrutiny.
All of the following vehicles have their merits in one form or another, but Consumer Reports has never been known for overlooking issues either. Trusting an investigative write-up is a great way to figure out what could go wrong with a particular chassis prior to purchase. Here are 10 of the least reliable cars of 2016 according to Consumer Reports, many of which are prone to all manner of mechanical and technological malady.